It was the quip on the front cover of this book that reeled me in while I scoured for new books at our local library. “GO BIG OR GO HOME,” it boasted. Murphy combines quick wit and a cheeky sense of humor in Dumplin’ and the result was both raw and real. Texas-girl Willowdean Dickson is a strong believer that anyone can rock a bikini, no matter her size or shape. When Willowdean falls for her coworker, and he seems to like her back, her self-esteem on her own body image starts to waver. To regain her crown of confidence, she enters the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant, something she swore she’d never do. In a stand for all the dumplins’ and misfits in her small Texas town, Willowdean and a team of other improbable contestants brazenly enter the pageant and march towards the highly treasured winner’s sash. Dumplin’ is not for the faint of heart, and appeals to a high school-level reader. Bold and brilliant, this book is sure to win you over.
Travel back into the late 1800’s with Callie and her six brothers in the award-winning novel, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Callie suffers from the expectations of those times, when girls are known to perform housework and marry at the unripe age of 16. She escapes this reality by exploring the world of scientific study with her mysterious Grandfather and the scorching, vast land of Texas. This novel introduces the past and its undeveloped manner- written so kids of all ages can easily understand- as Callie pursues her dream of becoming a girl scientist.